See also: Reason

English edit

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Etymology edit

From Middle English resoun, reson, from Anglo-Norman raisun (Old French raison), from Latin ratiō, from ratus, past participle of reor (reckon), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *h₂reh₁- (to think), reanalysed root of *h₂er- (to put together). Doublet of ration and ratio.

Pronunciation edit

  • IPA(key): /ˈɹiːzən/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːzən
  • Hyphenation: rea‧son

Noun edit

reason (countable and uncountable, plural reasons)

  1. A cause:
    1. That which causes something: an efficient cause, a proximate cause.
      The reason this tree fell is that it had rotted.
      • 1996, Daniel Clement Dennett, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life, page 198:
        There is a reason why so many should be symmetrical: The selective advantage in a symmetrical complex is enjoyed by all the subunits []
    2. A motive for an action or a determination.
      The reason I robbed the bank was that I needed the money.
      If you don't give me a reason to go with you, I won't.
      • 1806, Anonymous, Select Notes to Book XXI, in, Alexander Pope, translator, The Odyssey of Homer, volume 6 (London, F.J. du Roveray), page 37:
        This is the reason why he proposes to offer a libation, to atone for the abuse of the day by their diversions.
      • 1908, Henry James, chapter 10, in The Portrait of a Lady (The Novels and Tales of Henry James), New York edition, volumes (please specify |volume=I or II), Boston, Mass., New York, N.Y.: Charles Scribner’s Sons, →OCLC; republished as The Portrait of a Lady (EBook #283), United States: Project Gutenberg, 1 September 2001:
        Ralph Touchett, for reasons best known to himself, had seen fit to say that Gilbert Osmond was not a good fellow []
    3. An excuse: a thought or a consideration offered in support of a determination or an opinion; that which is offered or accepted as an explanation.
      • 1966, Graham Greene, The Comedians, Penguin Classics, →ISBN, page 14:
        I have forgotten the reason he gave for not travelling by air. I felt sure that it was not the correct reason, and that he suffered from a heart trouble which he kept to himself.
    4. (logic) A premise placed after its conclusion.
  2. (uncountable) Rational thinking (or the capacity for it); the cognitive faculties, collectively, of conception, judgment, deduction and intuition.
    Mankind should develop reason above all other virtues.
    • 1898, H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds, London: William Heinemann, page 113:
      The tremendous tragedy in which he had been involved - it was evident he was a fugitive from Weybridge - had driven him to the very verge of his reason.
    • 1970, Hannah Arendt, On Violence, →ISBN, page 62:
      And the specific distinction between man and beast is now, strictly speaking, no longer reason (the lumen naturale of the human animal) but science []
    • 2014 June 21, “Magician’s brain”, in The Economist, volume 411, number 8892:
      The [Isaac] Newton that emerges from the [unpublished] manuscripts is far from the popular image of a rational practitioner of cold and pure reason. The architect of modern science was himself not very modern. He was obsessed with alchemy.
  3. (obsolete) Something reasonable, in accordance with thought; justice.
    • 16th century Edmund Spenser, Lines on his Promised Pension
      I was promised, on a time, To have reason for my rhyme.
  4. (mathematics, obsolete) Ratio; proportion.
    • 1734, Isaac Barrow, “Lecture XVII. Of the Names and Diversities of the Twofold Kind of Reason or Proportion, viz. Arithmetical and Geometrical”, in John Kirkby, transl., The Usefulness of Mathematical Learning Explained and Demonstrated: Being Mathematical Lectures Read in the Publick Schools at the University of Cambridge. [], London: [] Stephen Austen, [], →OCLC, pages 323–324:
      [I]f two Quantities repreſented by the Numbers 20 and 4 be compared, by dividing the Antecedent 20 by the Conſequent 4, the Quotient is 5; but inverting the Terms, by dividing 4 by 20 the Quotient is  . By which Quotients are declared the Geometrical Reaſons of the propoſed Quantities, becauſe if the Quotient found be multiplied by the Conſequent, the Product is equal to the Antecedent; for in the former Compariſon  , in the latter  ; as Things again are referred to Equality.

Synonyms edit

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Translations edit

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Verb edit

reason (third-person singular simple present reasons, present participle reasoning, simple past and past participle reasoned)

  1. (intransitive) To deduce or come to a conclusion by being rational
    • 1892, Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure of the Speckled Band:
      "I had," said he, "come to an entirely erroneous conclusion which shows, my dear Watson, how dangerous it always is to reason from insufficient data. [] "
  2. (intransitive) To perform a process of deduction or of induction, in order to convince or to confute; to argue.
  3. (intransitive, obsolete) To converse; to compare opinions.
  4. (transitive, intransitive) To arrange and present the reasons for or against; to examine or discuss by arguments; to debate or discuss.
    I reasoned the matter with my friend.
    • 1901, Ralph Connor, chapter 9, in The Man from Glengarry:
      The talk was mainly between Aleck and Murdie, the others crowding eagerly about and putting in a word as they could. Murdie was reasoning good-humoredly, Aleck replying fiercely.
  5. (transitive, rare) To support with reasons, as a request.
  6. (transitive) To persuade by reasoning or argument.
    to reason one into a belief; to reason one out of his plan
    • 1815 December (indicated as 1816), [Jane Austen], chapter 10, in Emma: [], volumes (please specify |volume=I to III), London: [] [Charles Roworth and James Moyes] for John Murray, →OCLC:
      That she was not immediately ready, Emma did suspect to arise from the state of her nerves; she had not yet possessed the instrument long enough to touch it without emotion; she must reason herself into the power of performance; and Emma could not but pity such feelings, whatever their origin, and could not but resolve never to expose them to her neighbour again.
  7. (transitive, with down) To overcome or conquer by adducing reasons.
    to reason down a passion
  8. (transitive, usually with out) To find by logical process; to explain or justify by reason or argument.
    to reason out the causes of the librations of the moon

Derived terms edit

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Further reading edit

Anagrams edit